What Is a Pedestrian Accident?

What Is a Pedestrian Accident?

A pedestrian accident happens when a motor vehicle, such as a car or motorcycle, hits a human. Pedestrian accidents are typically more severe than car accidents involving two vehicles because the person is completely exposed. If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to financial awards.

Pedestrian Accidents Are All Too Common And Dangerous

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 7,000 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles in 2020. Another 104,000 pedestrians received emergency medical treatment for non-fatal injuries related to pedestrian accidents in the same year.

There are many causes of pedestrian accidents, but collisions often happen between motor vehicles and unprotected humans because the driver is not paying attention or acting as carefully as they should.

If you are the victim of a pedestrian accident, then the motorist who struck you could be responsible for the losses you have incurred because of the accident.

Drivers Have a Responsibility to Keep Pedestrians Safe

Just as every motorist has a right to a reasonable expectation of safety at the hands of other motorists, pedestrians have a right to a reasonable expectation of safety while traveling near roadways. Motorists have an obligation to watch for pedestrians and take measures to avoid causing them injury. Drivers who are distracted, fatigued, intoxicated, or reckless can put pedestrians at a greater risk of severe injury and death.

Some of the most common dangerous behaviors by drivers that could potentially cause a pedestrian accident are:

  • Traveling at unsafe rates of speed
  • Failing to check crosswalks when turning
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians, whether they have the right of way or not
  • Texting while driving
  • Making a phone call while driving
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Being drunk or under the influence of drugs and driving
  • Changing lanes abruptly
  • Driving at night without headlights on

These are just a few of the behaviors that put other motorists and pedestrians near the road at risk of injury or death and could be some of the causes of pedestrian accidents. If you were involved in a pedestrian accident and the driver involved engaged in any of these or other dangerous behaviors, they could be liable for your injuries.

Who Can Be At Fault for a Pedestrian Accident?

One or more of the following parties could share fault for your pedestrian accident:

A Motorist

Most pedestrian accidents are caused by motorists. These collisions can result from:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to yield to the right-of-way
  • Speeding
  • Intoxicated driving
  • Road rage
  • Weaving in and out of lanes
  • Not braking in time
  • Failing to obey posted traffic signals

The CDC notes that drunk driving is among the leading causes of pedestrian accidents.

A Government Department

The government is responsible for ensuring the safety of Florida’s roadways. When it fails in this obligation, it can hold liability for your losses. For instance, suppose you were crossing the street when a traffic signal stopped working, causing a car to hit you. If the government knew (or should have known) about this issue, it could pay for your losses.

A Vehicle Manufacturer

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues recalls on defective cars. However, it may take multiple incidents before this happens. If your accident was caused by a defective car (like a vehicle that accelerated suddenly or didn’t have functioning brakes), you can file a product liability claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer.

What Could Make a Pedestrian Responsible for a Collision?

Florida laws outline how both pedestrians and drivers should behave on roadways. Florida Statutes § 316.130 lays out many rules for pedestrians. For example, pedestrians should:

  • Walk on sidewalks when provided
  • Walk on the left shoulder, facing traffic, when there are no sidewalks
  • Obey traffic signals
  • Cross the street at crosswalks where available

Pedestrians need to obey the rules of the road just like everyone else. If a pedestrian fails to abide by these rules and a car hits them, they may hold some responsibility for the accident.

Here are some common situations where a person walking or bicycling might share responsibility for an accident:

Ignoring Traffic Signals

If a pedestrian or bicyclist crosses the street when they don’t have the right-of-way, they risk their life. Motorists aren’t watching for pedestrians when following the flow of traffic, and they’re not expected to stop in the middle of an intersection to let someone cross.

Pedestrians should wait for a “WALK” signal before entering a roadway.

Walking Along High-Speed Roads

On many suburban and country two-lane highways, there is no room for someone to safely walk along the side of the road. Often, signs warn people not to walk along the road, as many cars, trucks, and buses are zooming by at speeds between 45 mph and 75 mph. It is very unsafe to put yourself in this situation.

If you walk or bike along these roadways and you get hit by a vehicle, you might be partially at fault for the accident.

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